Hello, Spongey here.
Well, after that nice break full of ponies, it’s time to continue our Horrorland trek. We’re close to done with Arc 1, folks. With this one, there’s not much to say. Like My Friends Call me Monster, it’s just a random one with no ties to previous books.
Except it’s another camp book. Those have a …hit or miss rate. Ranging from Great (Camp Nightmare) to kind of bad (Fright Camp). This could go either way, really. This is one that doesn’t kind to mind as much as some of the other Horror land entries, which is a good sign right off the bat.
But hey, my memory isn’t always great, so we’ll see if it’s anything memorable. Let’s see if Stine can do camp right, or still do it badly.
This, is Welcome to Camp Slither
Very original title, that’s not at all close to another one.
The book opens with our protagonist Boone, and his sister Heather, getting on the bus for Camp. They realistically love camp and the outdoors, so they are excited for Camp Hither.
Which sounds nothing like a suspiciously creepy word. After an info dump on the arbitrary facts that are supposed to separate these two from other characters, they get on the bus.
“Two more victims”
Man, this place isn’t wasting any time being suspicious. On the bus, they meet a guy reading Manga. ….Not sure how to feel about the inclusion of Manga in Goosebumps. He’s pale and weird looking. Yep, it makes sense that he reads Manga.
His name is Roddy McDonald, and he says he’s heard creepy things about the camp. Again, wasting no time. He even says the camp is called Camp Slither. Roll credits?
They try to tell Roddy everyone is full of crap, but he’s still a bit weary. Especially since no kid on the bus has been to the camp before. Then there’s a false scare where they think the rattle of a bracelet is a rattle snake.
They arrive at camp and see that the director is named Dr. Crawler. Their worries aren’t exactly too unfounded so far. They are taken to the nurse to get weird stuff sprayed on them that he claims is sun protection.
Man, some Goosebumps keep some mystery, but this one is not hiding the big “secret” going on. May as well get it out of the way quickly. Then it turns out all the Cabin’s are named after snakes, because of course they are.
They all get settled, and Roddy jumps into a story about a giant snake that lives in the lake.
“Whoa, that’s a huge snake!”
…No, I’m not commenting on innuendo this time.
Later, they meet with Dr. Crawler at the “Meeting” and hear a strange sound, that that he misses as crickets. I will say I do kind of like the minor creepy bits at the starts, makes it feel like things are weird from the get go instead of just randomly starting.
He says that Cabin Wars begins next week.
“Cabin Wars get pretty intense”
Don’t you mean gets pretty intense? If you mean Wars as in the Wars of the Cabin and not as the name of an event, it should have showed something to indicate that. Huh, that was nitpick-y, even for me.
‘It’s Take No Prisoners around here!”
…That sounds creepier than any of the snake stuff.
The next morning, they are woken up by Roddy screaming something crawling into his ear, which turns out to be a caterpillar. I wasn’t aware that was a thing that could happen, that’s equally as worrying as it being a snake.
They move and go on a hike then go for a swim. Fairly dull, until Nathan tries to prove there’s no snake in the lake…then falls under the water and doesn’t come up. Spoilers, it’s a prank. Haw it’s funny because you pretty much mocked a kid’s fear.
Later, people show up to pack Roddy’s stuff, as he apparently decided to leave. That’s kind of likely, but they just let him leave like that instead of trying to get him to stay, especially since it’s only been like an hour since he was last seen?
Spoilers, evil stuff happened so this is all forgiven. It’s so dumb even the kids poke holes in it, some of which even I didn’t notice. Don’t worry, this won’t turn into Say Cheese and die Screaming.
So Boone hatches a plan to sneak out after dark and find out about the hissing, since that could lead them to something bigger. Man, this book just loves jumping the gun in a way that makes sense.
That night he takes Heather up to do that and she’s on board because…they wisely wanted to skip more of her being annoying. Yeah, her gimmick is she quotes her grandmother or something, say dumb catchphrases that no one ever said.
Be happy I’m skipping over it.
Their search takes them to a weird building. They go on to find out it’s filled with mice. And makes Boone jump to the conclusion that they are for Serpo and are up to other evil stuff. To be fair, that makes sense but this book keeps jumping the gun on everything!
They try to leave but find that the door is suddenly locked and the mouse stars crawling over them. The latter gets a cliffhanger chapter break. Yes, the utter horror that is…mice.
Thankfully, two of their bunkmates show up and free them, having followed them. If they followed them right after they left, why didn’t’ they pop up sooner?
They go to Nathan’s Cabin to see what they know, but in their bed they find giant snakes. They run away from the pissed off snakes and just barely get away with their lives. Heck, there’s even an actual cliffhanger with one almost getting them, that seems like it could be false, but it isn’t!
Instead of dealing with it now, they wait until tommrow to ask around about the killer snakes. They ask Nathan and he gives a bullshit story that is bullshit. He tells them to get ready for a swim in the lake, which worries them given the serpo thing.
Of course, the phones are down but in the camp brochure, it mentions an Uncle Jerry even though they’ve met no such guy, making them think Nathan is a fake. They visit Dr. Crawler and just ask him about Uncle Jerry.
“You’ve found him”
A chair turns around, Bond Villain style, to reveal a Cottonmouth Snake,
‘This is Uncle Jerry!”
The twist in the snake book is that the villain has connections to snakes?!
Then Dr. Crawler reveals his true creepy snake-ish form. Also, Jerry reveals he can speak as his brain is still human. Why he didn’t talk when revealed is anyone’s guess. They explain that they were scientists studying snake venom, trying to find a true antidote.
But they injected themselves in some wrong way and became snakes. They have tried to find a way back and are almost normal, and are human by day, but snake by night. They started the camp as a front for their experiments, and they needed human test subjects.
That bit was thrown in so that they are evil, because…honestly the rest makes them seem like well intentioned extremists in some way. Their backstory shows them as fine, just a bit foolish.
It’s not a huge problem, but it’s something I just noticed. Otherwise, the backstory is okay. Some holes, but them making a camp to get subjects isn’t too bad…but makes you wonder how they made it big enough for this many kids to be sent to, given what it’s like.
In Ghost Camp, only our heroes were new humans, and it was a very small camp that the kid were only sent to because the rest were booked. Not so much here.
They actually saw the townspeople have been getting suspicious with the missing kids. They never checked the camp they happened to be at, and saw this stuff going on?
It turns out that hissing was these machines, and the Sun Glow was Snake DNA to get them ready for the machines. Also, Roddy is here, now with a snake tongue. Neat! They use him to showcase their machine, as we see him being tortured by being turned into a snake.
It’s kind of creepy to see torture like this, but I’ve seen more messed up stuff in this series. They captured the kids, but Heather uses her rattling bracelet as a distraction. Seriously, how does that confuse actual snake Scientist?
“Do you two know the biggest enemies of snakes?’
“I know that Man is the first”
“The king snake is the seconded biggest enemy!”
I looked up and it’s kind of true. They have various enemies, but this one just sounded more threatening than Large birds, or coyotes. Anyway, they’ve turned Roddy into a King Snake, because plot convenience.
It’s also lucky Boone knows that despite not knowing anything about snakes before. Crawler attacks him but …accidentally bites himself. How that happen? I’d need to know what angle he was at for this to make sense.
Either way, Crawler dies. Huh, nicely dark, especially with him killing himself. But given his backstory, it’s a bit too dark, honestly. Jerry and the other snakes run away as the kids leave. Eh, Goosebumps has had worse climaxes.
Luckily, the experiment only lasts a bit as Roddy returns to normal. So much convenient!
The next day, they are taken up earlier They did explain why the camp closed earlier, but they don’t buy it. Yet also don’t question anything either. Boone just rushes us through that part. On the drive home, Boone reveals a birthday present for Heather.
Oh yeah, her birthday was coming, which was mentioned like once. Said present is a snake. Wow, you’re a snake. Then the snake…talks.
“Many happy Returnss!”
- don’t get it. The statement or the snake talking. Did he get it from camp? If so, hes’ a bigger snake!
Oh, and the HorrorLand segment doesn’t explain it, just like last time. Bah.
Eh, I’m …conflicted. I technically enjoyed it, and there’s nothing really THAT wrong with it. But it’ also kind of just…there. Nothing really special either way. Everything it does has been done in other Goosebumps Camp Books, and better. We’ve been the creepy camp mystery in the others, and while the pay off is better than JellyJam, it’s not as gripping as Camp Nightmare.
The snake element is pretty cool but not really enough to make it stand out as anything special. I don’t wanna sound negative, because it is enjoyable due to the build up and snake stuff.
But it’s also just kind of there. It doesn’t do anything badly, but doesn’t’ exceed in any area. If you’ve never ready a Goosebumps Camp Book, you’ll enjoy it a lot more than someone more familiar.
It doesn’t give me as much to talk about, and every time I’ve read, it’s just slipped my mind. It’s fine, just nothing that special. It’s in the middle, kind of like Camp Cold Lake, but at least that one stood one.
But hey, it’s not bad and I don’t regret reading it. I just wish there was more to it.
In the home stretch, only 4 more reviews in the arc! Tune in sometime later, for the last book before completely going to HorrorLand!